Gattuso Link With Rangers Job Makes No Sense

Gattuso

As Rangers announced to the stock exchange that manager Ally McCoist has indeed resigned, that he was serving his twelve month notice period and that the club were looking for an ‘amicable solution’, reports surfaced linking the club with replacements.

One man was mentioned more than once and that was Rino Gattuso.

Now before Rino won many titles with AC Milan and had secured legendary international status by helping the Azzurri clinch the World Cup in 2006, he played at Ibrox as a teenager. He spent just over a year in Glasgow and the supporters took him to their hearts.

He has a great playing pedigree and has a history with the club. That has to be a winning combination for a manager right?

WRONG!

This potential appointment just doesn’t make any sense at all.

At thirty-six, Gennaro is already onto his third managerial job in just under two years. At Sion, Palermo and OFI Crete he has had difficult clubs and he hasn’t really covered himself in any glory. Going to Rangers would be a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Also why would he join Rangers at this time? He would be replacing his old teammate and pal, Ally McCoist. His biggest Scottish footballing mentor is Walter Smith and there is no way Walter would recommend that job at this time!

Plus Gattuso cannot be described as a puppet. In my view, the current Rangers board wouldn’t want a temperamental manager that they couldn’t control. They also would probably prefer to go with someone that doesn’t have a huge affinity with the fans. McCoist has more power because he had the fans backing as he will always be a legend in their eyes. Mike Ashley (who has a big say at Ibrox) also learned that lesson when he hired Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, Mike hasn’t really recovered from that episode/feud with Keegan.

Another factor we have to remember is that if Gers were to go after Gennaro Gattuso, then they’d have to deal with OFI Crete and that could mean compensation. At the moment it looks like Rangers can only stay in business due to loans, so moving for a manager currently working would probably be a non-starter.

For all I loved Gattuso the player, I am far from convinced about him as a manager. A bit like Roy Keane, I think he struggles to deal with footballers who don’t have the same passion and desire he does for the game.

For an example of a fan favourite who couldn’t make the transition into management you just have to look at McCoist. Gattuso could be in a similar situation.

In the Scotsman’s report they also suggest that Steve Clarke’s name as a possible candidate. He could be a better choice for all concerned.

WHY?

Because he doesn’t have the club links. I think the next manager of Rangers, should have little to no links to the club. Pressure would then not be as high and the manager himself wouldn’t then let emotion cloud his judgement. He would also be solely concentrating on the on-field activities. Plus as I’ve mentioned earlier, a gaffer currently unemployed would be the ideal scenario for the current Rangers business model.

The club also need to secure long-term proper financial investment. Once that’s in place a new scouting team needs to be put in place or the club will continue to under perform.

For whomever takes over next at Rangers, they will need to walk a fine line in keeping two factions happy; the board and the fans. The club is severely fractured and the managers job could be an extremely volatile position that can make or break any potential candidate.

For Rangers to be at their best both on and off the park then the fans and owners need to come together and sing from the same hymn sheet. At the moment I just can’t see that with this regime as trust is non existent.

Really can any manager work in those circumstances? I doubt it!

Celtic Need To Tie Down Guidetti And Forget Odegaard for Now

Celtic

I first noticed John Guidetti back in 2011 when he was at Feyenoord on loan, they were in Breda taking on NAC. He was a substitute and changed things when he came on, he actually turned the game around.

That year in Holland saw Guidetti score twenty goals in twenty-three Eredivisie appearances.

Unfortunately things haven’t gone to plan with his parent club Manchester City and his career stalled. Injury hampered his time at the Etihad and chances were always going to be slim with the forwards that City have in their pool.

But as soon as Celtic snapped him up in a loan deal this summer, I said that they had picked up a real gem who could be a star for them in the league (unfortunately he signed too late for the Europa League squad).

His performances this season in the Scottish Premiership have proven he is a striker that Celtic have missed since Gary Hooper left last year.

John_Guidetti

He has eleven goals in his career in Scotland so far this season.  Like fellow Swede and Celtic great Henrik Larsson, Guidetti is a prolific and instinctive goalscorer. He’s also capable of nice touches and pieces of skill that can remind you of Swedish captain/legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic. At twenty-two, he also has a cool head and is a fine set-piece taker.

So you can see why Celtic’s fans and their manager Ronny Deila want to try and keep John. Peter Lawwell has stated a few months ago that replacing strikers has been Celtic’s biggest recruitment problem in recent years. In Guidetti they have an extremely talented young forward who will score bagfuls a season in Scotland and should be able to contribute to enhancing their European credentials too.

But Celtic need to act fast as other big sides such as Marseille have taken note of his performances at Celtic Park this term.

A deal seems to be in place with Man City for a fee of around £3m but the player now needs to be convinced. I think just playing and scoring for Celtic will be a major plus for the ‘Hoops’. But wages could be a stumbling block depending on where the two parties are at the moment.

Why the rush?

Well as I’ve already stated other notable sides have been linked with the hitman. Plus his Man City contract is running out next summer and he’ll be able to talk with other clubs come January.

So getting a deal done now could be huge for Celtic. Keep him for two or three more seasons and then they’ll probably sell him on for double or treble the £3m price that they pay Man City for his services now. As long as he keeps proving himself and scores the all important goals.

Now reports in Scotland have also suggested that Celtic could be interested in Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard. The fifteen year old (will be sixteen next week) is a huge prospect and already has three senior international caps.

The links to Celtic started as soon as Ronny Deila became the Hoops boss. He was Odegaard’s manager at Strømsgodset and was the boss who gave him his debut in April.

Martin_Ødegaard

Celtic being Celtic always operate a level beyond themselves. They love to be linked with world-class players and amazing prospects. It gives them a huge PR boost and placates the fans. Plus what business wouldn’t big themselves up?

So when you see quotes from Deila and Stefan Johansen about signing Odegaard, I’d take them with a pinch of salt. Look the player is training with Bayern Munich, Man United and Liverpool at the moment. He’s also had training sessions with Man Utd and Bayern last year too. He is destined for a big move to one of Europe’s biggest sides.

Now some might say, well he’ll get more game time at Parkhead. Well he’d actually be better off staying in Norway if he wants as many games as possible. Plus not many come through the youth teams and make it at Celtic these days.

Celtic could still be involved in Odegaard’s career if they keep it cute.

The young starlet could end up at Man City, as the English champs have strong links with Strømsgodset. If that were to happen then maybe Celtic, who have taken Guidetti and Jason Denayer on loan, could be first in line to take Odegaard on loan. Even if it’s not City but one of Europe’s other elite sides that snap up the teenager, Celtic and Ronny Deila could be seen as ideal guardians to loan him to and see him settle into a good level of football.

So in my opinion Celtic should sit tight and try and pick up Odegaard once the dust settles after his big transfer gets completed.

I’d love to see the Scottish champions keep their current Scandinavian star and hope they manage to get Odegaard at sometime in the near future too.

 

Disappointing BT Sport Entertain Disrespectful, Arrogant Bully Stan Collymore

Stan Collymore

Stanley Collymore, where do you start with a man like this?

A footballer who didn’t quite hit the peak his ability suggested he should reach? A man caught up in a seedy dogging scandal? A human being that has allegedly made two threats on lives of two ex partners? A bully who when arguing with Vanilla Ice on a low budget reality show for channel five said ‘If you want to fucking get it on, we’ll go round the fucking back, get our mics off and I’ll cave your fucking head in.’

Stan Collymore isn’t my cup of tea, to say the least.

On these merits he probably doesn’t deserve a media career, even if he believes the drivel that comes out of his mouth like ‘Everybody thinks I underachieved as a footballer. I didn’t underachieve. I overachieved. I had a great career.’

You didn’t overachieve Mr Collymore; you won nothing of note, only represented England three times and never spent more than three seasons at one club. You gave up at thirty years of age after walking out Real Oviedo. That isn’t the successful resume.

Yes Collymore had skill and tremendous footballing qualities but the fact is he squandered them. But alas doesn’t mean he’s a bad pundit. George Best squandered more than Stan (he also won more) and he had a decent career in the media.

Should his past violent indiscretions mean he should be given a full body swerve from companies such as BT Sport and Talksport? Possibly not. I wouldn’t hire Andy Gray or Alan Brazil, but they manage to get jobs in these places too. But be warned media companies, women in football are here to stay and they are powerful fans that have an ever growing voice. They may end up forcing your hands when employing sexist, unsavoury characters such as these.

My main gripe with Stan Collymore is his way of actually being a pundit and his use of social media.

I don’t follow Stan (I also avoid listening to Talksport) but yesterday during the Rangers/Ally McCoist saga retweets hit my Twitter feed…

Twitter

Now say what you want about Ally McCoist as a football manager but he is a man of principle and dignity. Collymore wetting himself over a comment, McCoist made in 2012, is embarrassing and disrespectful. Plus the soundbite actually answered a question that directly asked Ally if he’d walk away in 2012, something Stan wouldn’t have known about as he probably knows just as much about Scottish football as he knows what it feels like to score for his country (nothing).

Now I thought back and was curious as to why Collymore would have an issue with McCoist that would result in that bizarre/disrespectful tweet. Then I remembered, it was in a Scottish bar in Paris where Collymore hit Ulrika Jonsson after she appeared on Ally’s tv show and the former Scotland striker was in another room in the same bar.

So I tweeted…

Tweet 2

Now I wasn’t the only one to remember this incident after his boastful tweet and like so many others I was blocked by Stan Collymore on Twitter. I consider it a highlight in my Twitter career. I was was bothered as I never wanted to follow the arrogant bully.

But then BT Sport and their main TV personality Jake Humphrey tweeted that they were delighted to have Stan on their broadcast later on that night to discuss Rangers and Liverpool.

That made me reconsider my BT Sport and telephone subscription (I’m still thinking it over).

Why on earth am I paying to watch a notorious bully who goads football fans on twitter and on the radio and then runs away from them when they answer back with facts. My tweet to Stan wasn’t racist or abusive, many of the people who tweeted him yesterday weren’t abusive either. That incident happened in Paris.

He knows hee haw about the goings on at Ibrox, for crying out loud he even suggested Ally McCoist take a break and then get a role on the Rangers board. He also made a baseless comment that John W Henry had come close to sacking Brendan Rodgers. All that from a ‘source’ or maybe just Stan’s head? The source would have to be extremely high up in the Liverpool board if they have that kind of relationship with Henry and they deserve to be sacked if they have spouted anything to any broadcaster.

Now here is the point, Stan Collymore lives off of stories and goading fans. Why as a paying BT subscriber do I wish to watch that provocative style, especially when he can’t back up his claims or listen to criticism?

If BT Sport’s a channel that doesn’t listen to it’s fee paying audience and overlooks us (how many Scottish journos do they have to cover Celtic Europa games in the studio? Zero) then I am out. Social Media is a huge tool BT Sport, maybe you should listen to the dissenting voices from time to time and you’ll actually have a better station! Don’t just look and RT the good stuff, complacency can kill you in media.

As for Stan? Well I hope you can crawl back under your rock and I don’t need to hear about you until you once again balls up and fail at something else.

Sad Day For Rangers As McCoist Offers Resignation

Rangers

Now as a football manager, Ally McCoist isn’t the best. He has achieved certain targets, which were expected of him. His signing policy was pretty poor, especially when compared to his recent predecessors. His ideas on tactics and formations have been weak and rigid. Some of the performances from his side were turgid to watch and that’s probably being kind.

Yet with all that being said it’s a sad day for Rangers football club that one of their greatest legends has decided to call time on his Ibrox career. Just when he’s says his goodbyes is still up in the air.

Many won’t share my thoughts.

The current board and influential backer Mike Ashley will have see Ally as a bit of a milestone. Yes, some of his inept performances in the dugout recently have taken some attention away for the inner turmoil in the boardroom but the fans always have an eye on Ashley and co. They would much prefer a ‘yes’ man puppet to look after the team and had they had the resources available to them then I’ve no doubt Ally would have been sacked before now. They may ask him to work a notice period just to save on more cash. Keeping an unhappy manager would be seen as an awful move from a weak board.

Certain sections amongst the Rangers support will be happy to see McCoist fall on his sword but they should really be asking bigger picture questions.

Like, why now? We are only hours away from an important Championship clash between Gers and Queen of the South. Now Ally may not leave before that match but announcing that he’s tendered his resignation is a huge distraction for the team. You also have to believe that something major has happened within the club for McCoist to decide it was no longer a job he wanted. Maybe he decided like many of us before him that the job became to big for him or maybe he’s disagreed with those in charge at Ibrox on what should happen next.

Also the Rangers fans should be careful what they wish for. Yes a new manager might bring in a new focus and it could see an upturn in performances. But will this new guy be able to stand up for the fans against boardroom tyranny? Will the new gaffer have a media savvy perspective that keeps Rangers in the public eye and thwart people such as Charles Green and the like from running roughshod over the club like Ally has done in the past?

Now for all his managerial mistakes McCoist was a terrific ambassador for the fans and the club. He would stand up for them and his own principles. In losing Ally McCoist they will also lose his voice and over the years that was a huge voice, believe me things could have been a lot worse had it not been for him.

When Craig Whyte left Rangers in a sorry state, many of the fans dreamed of an open football club. One that would support the fans as they had supported the team. Now without McCoist there, things at Ibrox may grow quieter and become even more silent than when Whyte was at his worst.

It’s a sad day for me, McCoist was my boyhood hero. That man along with the fans and stadium were my biggest remaining links with the club I used to support. Now only the fans inside that glorious arena remain. I shudder to think at the clinical, silent and mundane way in which that football club may now be run.

It’s with no surprise that the club has already fallen into a deafening silence, not commenting on the ‘McCoist’ rumours. Even though every fan deserves to be told what’s happening.

For Alistair Murdoch McCoist, I only wish the best and that his career at Rangers can come to a quick and painless end.

(Please note this news story is constantly being updated and this blog article may be out of step very quickly. We are already hearing of successors like Butcher, McCall and Wise. Plus the Scottish press seem to still be in the dark as to whether or not Ally is on the team bus.)

Why PSG Should Keep Zlatan!

Ibrahimovic

French football writer Andrew Gibney is my best friend in the football writing world. The good sign for every lasting friendship is that you can agree and disagree with everything the other person says, yet you still remain best of chums.

Andrew is fantastic and we’ve had so many football discussions that we always seem to know what the other is thinking. Yet Andrew can still throw a few curve balls into conversations that I just cannot get my head around and it probably works vice versa with certain things I say to him.

So I wasn’t surprised with his ‘Zlatan must leave‘ article on Four Four Two. As with most things Andrew does, its well written and he makes a good fist of his argument. But no matter how many times I read it, I just can’t agree with it.

The premise of the argument seems to centre around Zlatan Ibrahimovic being too big for PSG and too much of a distraction. It suggests that the rest of the squad needs him to step aside and then they can take centre stage.

Now why can’t they step up with Zlatan in the side? Does the star player hold back those around him? Does Lionel Messi hold back Barca? Does Cristiano Ronaldo hold back Real Madrid?

With Zlatan in the squad PSG have won two Ligue 1 titles, their first since 1994 and only their third and fourth titles overall.

Yes Paris Saint-Germain have bought well and have a very strong squad but these players will welcome a world-class maverick like Zlatan who can be the difference between winning an important game and not.

Now Andrew points out that since Zlatan’s injury this term Edinson Cavani has stepped up. That’s what was meant to happen. Surely Cavani’s performances in the past few months show that PSG have done well with their buying policy and that they aren’t reliant on just one player. But let’s not forget that in fourteen Ligue 1 games Edinson has scored seven times, that is one less than Zlatan in six fewer starts. Also its only natural that Cavani was to do better this term than last as he has had over a year to settle in at his new club.

At thirty-three years of age, Zlatan isn’t even over the hill as his goalscoring exploits have shown this term. Plus didn’t a certain Swede by the name of Henrik Larsson show that age counts for little when you have permanent class?

As long as Ibrahimovic has hunger in his belly then why not keep him and use his experience to fulfil PSG’s ambitions?

Now Andrew pointed out that the Ligue 1 champs fell out of the Champions League at the quarter final stages in their last two attempts . That’s pretty good going considering as a club they hadn’t had too much recent experience in Europe’s elite competition. Andrew also says that reaching the last eight of the Champions League should be a bare requirement for any top club, well what about Man Utd, Liverpool, AC Milan and Inter? (All clubs with richer European traditions than PSG). Its a privilege to go far in any illustrious competition not a god given right, no matter how much you fling at it!

We shouldn’t forget that the owners of Paris Saint-Germain also want a brand, not just a decent football outfit. With that in mind they want superbly talented, worldwide known faces. Only David Luiz compares to Zlatan in this marketing way and even then he lacks that magical quality (some call it arrogance) that Zlatan possesses. For me, I’d tie down the Swedish striker for the rest of his career and then make him a club ambassador.

With the club chasing Marseille in the league and now into the last 16 of the Champions League, it would be folly to get rid of their talisman at this stage.

Sometimes the good teams need a genius to see off the really big challenges, is there anyone in the current PSG roster (oh how American) that can carry Paris Saint-Germain to higher levels than Zlatan can?

I seriously doubt it!

Now will I have changed Andrew’s mind on this subject? Not a chance, but then there is nothing wrong with that. His article did whats great in football writing, it raises debate.

Book Review: From The Back Page To The Front Room

Book

From The Back Page To The Front Room by Roger Domeneghetti (@WAATG)

It’s funny how just an idea for a book can make you think differently. In this one, Roger Domeneghetti looks at how the media and football are now almost always intertwined and linked and how they can both dominate our lives. We all remember the Prime Minister talking about David Beckham’s metatarsal, right? Of course we do, it was reported as huge news!

I’ve read many a football book, I love reading about different aspects of our beloved game. Yet no book has sent me nostalgically back to the classroom like this one. That is in no way a criticism, I adored my history lessons and this book is a bit like learning from a wonderful historian that can get you thinking of ancient times and relating it to the present day. In the opening chapter it dispels the myth that football was born in England, nope instead it origins probably started in China around 225BC, not many football books will take you to the Tsin Dynasty.

Now if you like an easy going, almost fairytale story book like a Wayne Rooney autobiography, then this isn’t the book for you. It challenges you and creates a zest for learning with some funny lines added in for balance.

My favourite chapter was Holding Out For A Hero. Not many folk will have the ingenuity to compare Roy Race with Beowulf. I loved ‘Roy of the Rovers’ as a child and he was that gifted footballing hero that could do nothing wrong. Roger tells us the history of Roy as well as how the cartoon was a huge staple for so many kids growing up. But we also found out that football had been doing this for generations in the form of cards and the like.

Now many of you know I work in the media industry (production) and like to critique SKY, BT Sports and the rest of them on their current product. But I didn’t know a huge amount of footballs history in the medium and how it all started off. But with ‘From The Back Page To The Front Room’ you get a detailed look at how football went from the terraces to our living rooms.

From cover to cover we see how football has come together with pretty much every media outlet and form imaginable, and it’s all documented in this wonderful book.

This is a must for all intellectual football fanatics and football historian devotees. Superbly thought out, well researched and classically written so, like its subjects, it will stand the test of time!

Publisher: Ockley Books

Available to buy HERE

Note on Photo:

A new one for me, as it involves animation. Quite literally its bringing the book to the front room with an old school flickering TV.

 

Mourinho Makes A Few Uncharacteristic Mistakes That Derail Chelsea

JoseMourinho

So it won’t be an invincible season for Chelsea this time around after all. The slump to Newcastle United showed others in the Premier League that they can be beaten after all.

But for me, Jose Mourinho has helped bring on the defeat with a few mistakes. Instead of keeping spirits high at Stamford Bridge after their sensational start to the campaign the Portuguese coach went out looking for issues that just weren’t there.

It’s not an unusual trick to see Jose spoil for a fight to try and keep momentum going within his squad. But this time you feel that Mourinho got it wrong.

Firstly the ‘Special One’ decided to have a pop at his own fans after a win over QPR at Stamford Bridge. The criticism of the support didn’t go down well with the Chelsea faithful. The fans were quick to point out all their own misgivings with the club including the price of tickets that has been pushing normal fans out of football. Jose’s comments were designed to get a reaction from the support and he got one, just not the one he was expecting. The whole episode soured the high morale that was surrounding his fans and the squad. I’m sure the saga will have given Rafa Benitez a wry smile on his face.

Jose would then try and become frosty with the English press. A trick that he has favoured many times in the past, and is quite frankly boring now. He is simply trying to deflect the attention away from his faux pas with his own fan-base. Its all designed to create an us versus them attitude with his players but the media just gave the affair a lukewarm sarcastic reaction.

Mourinho then set his sights own his opponents. Again a trusted weapon in his arsenal of mind games. Of Newcastle, Jose said the Magpies raised their game against Chelsea, ‘When seeing Chelsea shirts, they play the game of their lives’ whilst against the rest its “like they’re playing friendlies”.

Now that may be true to a certain extent, though I doubt a team could get into the Premier League’s top seven positions if they played most of their games like friendlies. It’s also footballing habit that teams try that little bit harder against the bigger teams. All Jose did with these comments was to refocus the Toon Army , they used his words as motivation and they had extra fire in their bellies that helped defeat his team.

Maybe Jose will see this result as a blessing in disguise. It may actually free his players from the pressures of trying to go through a full season without a loss. Too many draws could have brought those around them closer to Chelsea in the long run had the pressure got too much or perhaps a defeat later in the campaign against a title rival would have possibly seen a collapse in morale.

So maybe just maybe this was one of Mourinho’s greatest magic tricks that will inspire his team to the title.

But for me, Jose just couldn’t resist mixing things up a bit, even if it created unwarranted distractions to his own team. Maybe Mourinho needs to learn to leave things alone

 

Scottish Media Need To Back Budge Not Hinder Her

Heart_of_Midlothian

It’s funny how the Scottish media can get obsessed about Scottish footballs in-fighting and financial troubles. Yet they seem to overlook Scottish football’s social issues in any great detail.

This week Hearts owner Ann Budge once again made a very good and detailed statement, you can view it HERE.

The statement basically highlights the social problems Scottish fans seem to have when some enter a football stadium. Ms Budge is critical of both a section of her own set of supporters and the away end (certain Celtic fans).

It’s clear from the clubs statement and by publishing it online that those that run Heart of Midlothian football club want to build a friendly and family orientated atmosphere at Tynecastle.

What they don’t want is a crowd chanting abuse to the opponents and opposing fans (which may or may not be sectarian), or have chairs/toilets/walls vandalised in the stadium during the game.

The statement also called for cooperation from Celtic, who also released a statement of their own saying that they shared Hearts grievances (whilst pointing out some of their own, that were equally valid) and that they too wished for a healthier atmosphere in Scottish stadia.

Make no mistake here, this is a problem/issue that affects all Scottish clubs. Some in the Scottish media inflamed the situation stating in their headlines that Budge was attacking or slamming Celtic fans.

I didn’t read it that way, Ms Budge is much smarter than that. She was attacking all football fans who behave in this reckless and ignorant way. Which included Hearts fans during that Scottish Cup weekend fixture. The media headlines forget to mention that, going for the ‘attacking’ and ‘slamming’ headlines to get more hits from riled up Celtic fans. They also forget to mention previous Ann Budge statements where she again stand up to some of own fans for using flares inside Tynecastle.

Anthony Stokes fell into the trap hook line and sinker. He reacted merely on these one-sided headlines and issued Ann Budge with a rebuke of his own, slating the same Hearts fans that Budge had done in her statement. Showing us that he either didn’t read the statement and just the headlines (likely) or totally didn’t get the bit in the statement that Budge criticised every bad apple at Tynecastle on Sunday.

For me, the press should be striving with the clubs to make Scottish football a friendlier place to go every weekend. They should be at one with the people asking for cheaper ticket prices and criticising the anti-social fans who drive families away from match days.

They missed a trick and decided to make it more like a Celtic versus Hearts issue rather than one that highlights failings that still mark our footballing culture.

We want safe standing and drinking in stadiums to return in Scotland but until we all stand behind people like Ann Budge and get rid of the current social problems we face within our game, then we’ll struggle to win these other fights.

The press can always help, with balanced articles and equally balanced headlines.

Why Rodgers Will Have More Than Three Weeks Left At Liverpool

Brendan_Rodgers

Some people have said in the press that Brendan Rodgers may only have ‘three weeks’ left to save his Liverpool career. The main culprit has been former Anfield goalie Bruce Grobbelaar.

Now even though I am not a huge fan of Bruce or his views, you can see why he has come to those stern conclusions. As a club, Liverpool haven’t been performing as well  as the were last term and certainly don’t have that same explosive impact that they did last season. In the league they have slipped up a few times and now lie in twelfth spot (they are currently closer to relegation zone rather than Champions League places). In Europe their return to the Champions League hasn’t run smoothly and they now face Basle in a make or break game in Europe’s elite competition.

These issues in modern day football can often lead to the sack as anxious owners panic and pull the trigger and sack bosses.

At Liverpool I think its slightly different and I also think the circumstances can be a bit misleading.

Now in the league, the title looks beyond the Reds and even catching Southampton (2nd) and Manchester City (3rd) looks to be a tough prospect for Rodgers and his squad. But the race for that fourth and final Champions League spot could end up being the most fascinating race we’ve seen in years. Yes, Liverpool might sit in twelfth but they are only five points behind Manchester United who are the current occupiers of fourth position. You just need to see Newcastle Untied, who are now fifth after winning five games on the trot, as something that could happen if Liverpool find some form. The Magpie fans were calling for Alan Padew’s head in September as they toiled in the relegation places and now they are challenging for the Champions League spots.

The fact is that teams like Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Everton, Stoke, Swansea, Newcastle and Spurs have had inconsistent runs like Liverpool. So as long as Liverpool are still within touching distance I doubt any serious discussions will take place regarding Rodgers position.

The American owners will have faith in their boss, as he was the man that lead the club back into the promise land of Champions League football.

While I touch on that subject. It’s extremely arrogant to think that Liverpool were going to sail through that group. Teams who haven’t tasted the competition for a while or have never embarked on that journey before, usually struggle to adapt quickly. Look at Man City, they still struggle to cope with the extra demands. Liverpool still have it in their own hands, a win over Basle in December at Anfield will see the club reach the last sixteen. That will be a fantastic achievement for this squad.

Also we cannot forget that Liverpool have had to deal with not having Daniel Sturridge due to injury or Luis Suarez who was sold to Barcelona, that was the bulk of last seasons goals right there. Brendan can’t be blamed for those situations. Now maybe you can point the finger at him for this summers recruitment drive but again I’d say that was a club decision and not solely down to the manager.

Looking at Liverpool’s fixture list, I don’t see many games left in 2014 or in January 2015 that will scare them. If they can get a bit of luck and find some form then who knows maybe they can get into the last 16 of the Champions League and have fourth place firmly in their sights.

Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool have been disappointing this term but with so many others being equally inconsistent then they still have things in their own hands.

I will put my money on Rodgers getting the time to try and rectify those early season issues and we’ll see a charge from Liverpool come Christmas time.

Super Sanchez Still Needs To Prove Himself This Saturday

A.Sanchez_Arsenal

Quite a lot of superlatives have been thrown Alexis Sanchez way this season and rightly so. The Chilean has taken to the English Premier League like a duck to water and has been a standout for his new club Arsenal so far this term.

It’s come as no surprise to this writer. I’ve been banging on about Sanchez since his Udinese days. All summer long I was saying he’d be one of the best summer signings if an English side could purchase him. In July I stated that he was a mixture of Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero and I stand by that statement.

But one thing remains for this £32m man and that’s really impress in a big game for his new side and secure a victory over one of their rivals. 

Against Chelsea he worked with plenty of endeavour, for such a creative talent he always gives his all. But he struggled to really make any meaningful impact. Against Manchester City at the Emirates, he showed perfect technique when scoring past Joe Hart. But the performance wasn’t enough to get all three points.

To be fair to Alexis, getting vital wins over teams that are strong adversaries has been the Gunners problem for quite some time now. It’s usually the difference between a ‘Top Four’ finish and becoming genuine title contenders.

The problem for players such as Sanchez and Mesut Ozil is that they’ve been signed to influence such encounters. So when those wins continue to elude Arsene Wenger’s men then the pressure magnifies on the mega-rich signings.

In the next seven days, Alexis Sanchez can solidify his fine start in England’s capital.

Arsenal have two very important clashes, with Manchester United coming to town on Saturday and then the Gunners will entertain Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Looking back, the Arsenal Man United clash has always been one of the leagues biggest fixtures. This time the London outfit lie in sixth spot, a full eleven points behind leaders Chelsea, whilst weekends opponents United are a point and place behind in seventh place. Both sides will be going all out for the win that sends them closer to a ‘Top Four’ position and will give their whole club a key moral boost.

Dortmund soundly defeated Arsenal back September and after their collapse against Anderlecht at home last time around in the Champions League, Sanchez and Co need to prove a point this mid-week.

I am not having a go at Sanchez or Arsenal here. The Chilean forward has banged in eight goals so far in the EPL and only Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero have bettered that return. His dynamic running, eye for a pass and instinctive finishing have been a blessing for Arsenal and their fans this campaign.

But the fact remains that he needs to step it up in the big games and produce a standout performance. Actually the same can go for the Arsenal squad as a whole. Manager Wenger also needs to get that huge victory under his belt.

Against Man United this weekend they won’t get a better chance. The Old Trafford side have plenty of injury concerns and are still settling under new boss Louis van Gaal’s regime. But should Arsenal fail to pick up the win at home then questions will once again surround Monsieur Wenger.

This could be Alexis Sanchez time to show he is the world-class star that can once again make Arsenal a realistic  threat again!